Calgary

Remains of man found in Banff 23 years ago still a mystery

The identity of a man whose remains were found in Banff National Park more than 23 years ago continues to elude police despite a treasure trove of found items, including an address.

He was white, around 25 years old, 5'10" and may have had rickets as a child

Here are two composite drawings of a man whose remains were found in Banff National Park in 1998. The sketch on the left was done in 2001, and another, on the right, was produced in 2018. (Banff RCMP)

The identity of a man whose remains were found in Banff National Park more than 23 years ago continues to elude police despite a treasure trove of found items, including an address.

A local tour guide found the remains at Sulphur Mountain, just a few kilometres south of the townsite, on July 11, 1998, Banff RCMP said in a release on Tuesday.

"To date, despite the on-going investigation spanning over 20 years, the remains have yet to be identified," police explained.

These photos were found in the wallet of a missing man whose remains were found in Banff National Park in 1998. The photo on the right had an address written on the back, 524 6 ieme ave Nord, St-Antoine, J7Z-5H9. (Banff RCMP)

DNA and dental records didn't match any missing person's cases. A medical examiner's report concluded it was a white man, likely around 25 years old, 5-feet-10-inches tall (178 centimetres), who may have had rickets as a child.

The time of death was pegged at more than two years before the remains were found.

A handful of personal items were found near the remains, police said:

  • Wallet including a War Amps key tag and photographs.
  • Keys, including one for a Chrysler vehicle from the 1970s or 1980s.
  • Partial photograph with the address 524 6 ieme ave Nord, St-Antoine, J7Z-5H9 marked on the back.
  • Black leather wallet with "Amity" in gold lettering.
These keys were found near the remains of a man, located in Banff National Park in 1998. (Banff RCMP)

Police have released two composite sketches of the man done in 2001 and again in 2018.

A former Alberta chief medical examiner and forensic pathologist wonders about the time frame, between 1998 and today.

"What have they been doing since?" Dr. John Butt said in a phone interview with CBC News from his Vancouver home.

Composite pics don't match

He said the two composite drawings are quite different from one another.

"They appear to be two different artists and they don't have the same idea," Butt said.

"There is another program the RCMP had, it was available to any police force for a sum, around 1985. It was computer based. You put in a number of factors and measurements and you get a picture out. It's called computer-augmented identification."

Butt said if he were working this case, he might have tried different avenues of investigation.

"Being in Banff, it might have been worthwhile for them to check in the United States, but I don't suppose they would have done that when they found an address in Quebec and a War Amps key tag."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Banff RCMP at 403-763-6600, local police, or report anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Bell

Web Journalist

David Bell has been a professional, platform-agnostic journalist since he was the first graduate of Mount Royal University’s bachelor of communications in journalism program in 2009. His work regularly receives national exposure.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now